tv [untitled] June 23, 2012 11:30pm-12:00am EDT
demonstrate his strength is to take on the soviet union. he's so confident that he does it without winter uniforms thinking the victory is going to be so quick. then, when that's beginning to already run into trouble, 1941, the battle for moscow is really just urnds way, but it's already clear. it's not going to be so easy. hit ler has the alliance with japan. but he didn't have to declare world war right away. but he gets in his mind at the time that if he attaches the soviet union and britain, somehow this alliance with japan is going to be unbeatable. so he managed to talk himself into believing what he wanted to believe.
and, of course, there was not anybody who was going to talk him out of that. >> a recent trace fill review of your book has the headline, the americans who covorted with hitler. putting on your headline hat, would you send that back for rewarding? >> i'm never going to say anything bad about a publication that writes a nice review. let's say they were in his presence. there were very many tense interviews between america and hitler, which i write about in hitler land, which are an interesting dynamic in and of themselves. but i'll tell you one -- but i
think in saying this is something different, i understand what they're trying to do. cavorting is not quite the right word, but think of this scene. richard helms, a name that's familiar to a number of you because in the 1970s, he's the director of the c.i.a. in the 30s, he's a young reporter in germany and a wire service reporter. and during the nuremburg rallies, hitler liked to show off the whole thing to rallyists and they allow a couple of cars to ride behind hitler as he entered the stadium. there's just this explosion of imagine strags. he says i had to almost pinch myself not to be carried away by the emotions, even though i knew
what was going on. u they weren't cavorting, but they saw this from the inside. and sometimes, in a couple of cases, for instance, i've seen in hitler land where a young diplomat named jacob bean is allowed to go to a nazi party where hitler comes in and, at a certain point, he's really thrill thrilled that he has this new victory and has this slovenly ss officer with his belly out and bent over and then he does it as
a real ss officer. he's a performer. there was this theater of hitler and everything he did and certainly in the staging of his rallies and trying to trap people emotionally and, to a large extent, did. >> how much information did american journalists bring back to the news media after all of the beatings and the atrocities happened? >> well, first of all, i end hitler land with the -- in early 1942. when the last americans have been rounded up and then exchanged for the germans. by the way, they are in an
abandoned spa near frankfurt. it's very mild conditions but the german diplomats are interned in the green briar. now, some of you may know what the green briar is. it's the most luxurious spa in the united states. that's where they spend their time. there were many americans who tried to find out early on what was going on. of course, this is before the full 46 scale holocaust. so i want to make that clear. but some americans were actually all allowed, some were into the early camps, which were mainly for political prisoners and these were pretty highly orchestrated events.
they tried to work their sources, in a way, which felt a little bit familiar from my soviet days when you had to really go to elaborate lengths to meet with people to find out their stories. one of the stories is how his best source was the son of a rabbi in berlin, the son of a rabbi who was a doctor. he would make periodic appointments complaining of some ailment. and then, when he was being examined at a moment when the doctor would find an excuse to get the nurse out of the room, the doctor would slip in a sheet of paper into his pocket with the latest information about arrests, about what was happening in the jewish community.
kwhen that became too dangerous, they'd stand there, they'd leave, the doctor would job that sheet of paper and that's the way they got that investigation. so some of them were very enterprising. now, there were others who overlooked a tremendous amount and didn't realize what was happening or chose noot to realize in some cases found it unbelievable. there was also the element early on that there was a lot of disbelief. remember in world war i, there was some atrocity stories about germans which were very manufacture manufactured there was the worst stories that were being supported by some of these journalists and diplomats. yes, right here?
he went to germany in the '30s. and he was very perceptive, i thought. he came back and warned people. the story you mentioned about the bankers struck me because i heard many years ago, i heard a lecture in which he said that when he was in germany, he had met many wealthy germans and german jews who said we germans would be completely behind him. and that's in his phers. >> i'm familiar with his work. i write about him. i also write about some of the academics who come. schuman came, another sociologist from columbia actually conducted a survey of young nazis saying why did you
join the party? just as hitler came to power. it was a very interesting survey. some people felt it was too sympathetic. some people would come in and get it right away. others would not. by the way, howard k. smith, this early reporter who later became an anchorman, put out very, very smartly, he said there are four stages when any american or other foreign visitor comes to nazi germany. everyone seems happy, the unploimt seems to have disappeared. the second stage is, wow rksz there are a ltd. of people in uniforms. there is, you know, there's a lot of military stuff going on. a lot of marching.
but in that stage, it's still kind of titillating. it's exciting. all of these armies of young men, very handsome going through. the third stage is oh my god, why are they marching? why are they being taught on all of these demands? it's to kill, to conquer. and the fourth stage is my god, the world doesn't get it here. but democracy is not going to be able to cope what's e emergencying in germany. some people seem to go from stage one to four. some people went down a bit. it's not all clear. it's rarely black and white with many of these people. >> what was the discussion in
the u.s. with regards to the olympic games in 1936 in berlin? and has there been any consideration of boycotting the olympic games? >> yes. there was a big debate about the olympic games in the united states. there are various groups that wanted to boycott it. and the council general in berlin that i mentioned, who, by that time, had moved to austria and was serving in austria, was the olympics. he was a lonely voice. most people did not want to hear that. of course, the olympic committee largely went along with the farce of saying, oh, yes, we should -- the germans just need to at least admit one or two jews on the team and it will be
okay. and aif ri who was of the olympic committee said at one point to one of the ss people say oh yes, in chicago's club, we don't admit jew jews, either. so, of course, you know, the aent -- again, the anti-semitism wasn't just there. of course, the extreme never went to the extremes that it did in germany.
it's for all the stories about jesse owens and how hitler was furious about jesse owens and the other black athletes. the black athletes largely came away with good experiences in a sense that they came away -- they were personally the most popular athlete in those olympics. and many germans privately invited black athletes to their homes for coffee or meals. w.e.dubois was on a scholarship for six months in germany right around that time. and he commented on this. he said it would have been
impossible to go without some sort of racial front. but what my country men don't realize, because i speak jerman, i do realize, is that the anti-semitism here, the voracity of it is much worse than any racism we've ever faced in the united states and much more dangerous: >> if you could just wait for the microphone for one second. >> it would seem to me fell on receptive ears because that was something that was not -- i mean, it happened to other people, who cared. and therefore, was it true that the economic situation and the love that americans have, they don't have the royalty. and the success suddenly with
the big statues that convinced is it the pocketbook that convinced these americans and the rest of the world to disregard the jewish issue and say who cared? he's successful. >> hit ler used the jewish issue to blame everything on the jews. the whole economic collapse, the defeat on the war, everything. there was a classic scapegoat strategy. and to a large extent, it worked. and in terms of germany, remember, germany comes -- is hit by the hyper inflation, the economic collapse and beginning in the 20s, the middle of 20s, things stabilize.
it appears germany is coming out of this crisis. it appears they're getting nowhere, politically. before the depression hit, i think they had 12 members of the right stock, it's nothing. a tiny, tiny party. >> there's a definite cause and effect here. but it's also hitler's personality that's driving this. and i think you're right, too, that many people were impressed, you know, everybody was hit by the impression. the united states was, certainly. and, at first, there was an instinct to say that any formula that begins to work somewhere is great. but, you know, the people -- the germans in -- the americans in germany at the time, i think many of them realize that much earlier than people elsz where
that, you know, the price that was being paid for this. >> yes, right in front here? >> who, in your opinion, were the people who had the most harshest critics early on? >> i think for me, they were some of the real interesting people were the journalists of the chicago daily news. there's a woman of the chicago tribune, by the way, at that time, there were a huge number of american correspondents in europe and in germany in the '30s there were about 50 american correspondents stationed in berlin. i thought people like bill and i were in germany in the '20s -- '20s, yeah. we're quite old.
in the 80s and 90s was a nice corresponde correspondent you had these major publications that no longer exist. and so i would say those, among the correspondents that was really standing out, there were people who came over and met hitler and wrote a book called the early days of the reich. that is very perceptive right after hitler took power. tlchs someone whoa came over and met hitler in 1933. he later on became the commissioner for the ref ewe
gees for the league of nations. he was a remarkable figure. he just came back and said he's aiming to exterminate the jewish race and then arwards became the first u.s. ambassador to israel. so there's some remarkable stories of blindness but of real perceptiveness, too. and courage, in many cases. yes? >> the question was where did hitler get the funds in the beginning, i especially assume you're asking, to outfit his brown shirts and all of that. it's interesting. if you read the accounts of his early rallies when he start ed -
he took the nazi party which was nothing and started these beer hall rallies. he uniformly, whether it's prop others who go there, say that he was a remarkable reformer. we tend to see the clips of hitler when he seems to be totally, you know, delirious, and, you know, he's ranting, he's -- but that's the culmination of his performances. he would start these performances very low key, talking at a very ordinary voice about common concerns. and bring the audience over and apparently was remarkable at this. and really bring them in. and among the strongest earlier financial supporters often were older women at these rallies. he seemed to have a particular way of reaching older women.
some of them, there were accounts of them actually taking jewelry off their necks or their arms to support this lovely young man who was going to resurrect germany. of course, there were then later on industrialists, various other groups, but he did have this ability and also he had this -- he knew something about psychology that i think one of the things i always found really interesting about hitler was that his remark once that the reason i hold my rallies at night is because that's the best time to get people in your grasp emotionally. he said, think about going to the theater. when you go to a matinee, it rarely has a huge impact on you emotionally. you're thinking about things you have to still do afterwards. work or chores. you have to go back to. but at night you're letting go. if you think that's the acting, think about a movie. same thing.
a movie, you're likely to feel much more into a movie at night than during the day. so he knew these things. he had basic instincts about psychology and staging when you look at the nuremberg rallies and everything else which demonstrated that. he managed to start -- i visited the apartment -- the two apartments where hitler lived in munich. the first one was this tiny room in a small apartment where there were about four different tenants. incidentally, i went up there, knocked and said sheepishly to a young man with his daughter. i opened the door. "i'm an american journalist, a writer." he said, "oh, you want to see hitler's room?" so i went and saw hitler's room. soon he moved to a huge apartment.
i think it was about eight or nine rooms in the most fashionable part of munich which was completely funded by these kinds of supporters. and this was long before he took power. one more question, final question, and i think right in the middle there. >> in the bestseller, "the garden of the beast" -- >> i have never heard of that one. yes? >> they describe the interestingly about how ambassador dodd tried to warn the state department about what was happening in germany and how his bosses in the state department just would not go along with him, would not believe him. >> yes. i think that's a very accurate -- in "the garden of
the beast" which focuses on william dodd, the father, and martha dodd, it makes that point very strongly. and the evidence i saw and i also write about both of the dodds in my book. of course, they are just two of the many characters in nigh book. but dodd, i think, i basically agree with eric larson's assessment of dodd. he's fundamentally a decent man, but he was a yust of chicago historian, first diplomatic post and he originally came to germany thinking maybe i'll be able to talk some sense into people, you know, they're still -- he had been a student in germany. he remembered many very well-educated germans. he thought, well, there must be a way to have rational conversations. soon he realized that with the people in power, the nazis, that was almost impossible. his meetings with hitler were incredibly stilted.
and he became so disgusted with what was going on, particularly after the night of the long knives when hitler murdered so many of his own followers, that he wanted to have as litted to do with the government and party as possible. which on a human level is very commendable in many ways for u.s. ambassadors serving in the country means that also he was very limited in what he could and could not do. the other frustrating part of it, as you say, his reports to the state department about his displeasure was treated -- there was a sense, why isn't he talking to these nazis more? also, again, the sentiment in the department with the exception of people like george messersmith and others. that we can't let things get too far out of hand. we don't want to get in another
conflict. and those who like messersmith -- dodd didn't immediately predict a conflict. somebody like messersmith predicted a conflict like william shira was of the journalists very much earlier. they were seen as people who were just trying to bring bad news that no one wanted to hear. thank you very much. [ applause ] thank you. thank you. thank you. >> that was absolutely wonderful. and i invite you to please stay and join us for a small reception outside. the books are available. the american council on germany, i thank you for sharing the program with us and having this wonderful speaker. join us tonight. thank you so much. american history tv is at
the organization of american historian's annual meeting in milwaukee. we are going to focus next on a discussion on oral histories and digital histories with tommy cada, executive director of the japanese american legacy project. the project which some of our history tv viewers are familiar with. and jasmine alander from the university of wisconsin. tommy, what is the project you've been working on? >> so it's a community non-profit based in seattle where we go out and collect stories of japanese-americans who are incarcerated during world war ii. so the 120,000 people who were in the camps, what we do are the survivors from that, go out and do a videotaped interview and share the interviews on web. >> how many of these interviews have you done? >> we've done about 650 and will probably add another 50 or so this year. >> jazz anyone alender, you're working on a project, the march
on milwaukee civil rights history project. >> a digital archive, an online archive of sources relating to mostly the struggle for open housing and school desegregation in 1960s milwaukee and includes oral histories but also include text documents, photographs and video footage, news footage from a local tv station at the time. >> what do you find the biggest challenge is, and, because your documents, both of you are relatively recent history. we're talking in the case of the civil rights into the '50s and '60s, in the case of the japanese heritage project. the 1940s or so. what are the biggest challenges of finding original source material? >> well, we had -- my university, university of wisconsin milwaukee, we had a lot of the documents in our physical archives. the challenge was to make them for accessible and to give them a kind of context so that
students in milwaukee in particular, but beyond, could learn more about their city and its history. >> tom ikeda, how about you? >> in the same way, there were actually quite a bit of materials, documents. i mean, you have to realize, the government did this actually against japanese-americans and the government actually kept a lot of records. so in places like the national archives are photographs, documents. many of these we've scanned and put them on our website also. perhaps the hardest part was to, especially initially, was to convince japanese-americans to be interviewed for this. there was a reluctance to share their story because, you know, some still felt shame. even know they did nothing wrong, they felt something must have been wrong for them to be put in camps. so it took a while to encourage them to actually be interviewed. that was probably the toughest part. >> why are oral histories becoming more popular? we see them more often these days. we certainly on american history tv air a number oif